12 athletes announced in latest TOPS scheme, Mary Kom back after a year
Interestingly, Mary Kom has earlier been excluded from the TOPS scheme after trying to circumvent the scheme for their own benefit.
In a great boost prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Target Olympic Podium scheme, earlier today named 12 top athletes. Making her way into the list is six-time World Champion Mary Kom alongside upcoming shooter Yashaswini Singh Deswal and 2019 World Championship bronze winner Sai Praneeth.
Apart from funding the athletes, financial proposals worth Rs 1.4 crore were also cleared across 11 sporting disciplines – weightlifting, wrestling, shooting, archery, table tennis, athletics, badminton, tennis, para-badminton, para-archery and para-shooting.
Mary Kom was among ten boxers who were brought into the scheme for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics by the Sports Authority of India's Mission Olympic Cell
Amit Panghal (men's 52 kg), Sonia Chahal (women's 57 kg), Neeraj (women's 57 kg), Nikhat Zareen (women's 51 kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (men's 57 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (women's 69 kg), Vikas Krishan (men's 75 kg), Shiva Thapa (men's 63 kg) and Manish Kaushik (men's 63 kg) were the other nine boxers added to the TOPS list.
The committee also included 22-year-old Deswal, who won a gold medal in the women's 10m air pistol event in the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. Her gold earned India an Olympic quota as well. She had also won a silver in the mixed team event.
Badminton star Sai Praneeth had won a bronze in the World Championships last month to become the first Indian men's singles player in 36 years to win a medal. Praneeth has risen to world No 15 and is currently India's second-ranked men's singles player. A country is eligible to send two shuttlers per singles event in the Olympics.
Mary Kom makes a return
Interestingly, Mary Kom has earlier been excluded from the TOPS scheme after trying to circumvent the scheme for their own benefit. Mary Kom went for a fortnight-long training trip to Liverpool prior to Rio 2016. She got $10,000 (approximately Rs 6,70,000) from the ministry as part of her TOPS funding. On her return, she neither submitted the bills nor a report on the kind of training she underwent in the UK.
As a result, the sports ministry decided to not clear any fresh proposal submitted by Mary Kom till the time she clears her pending bills.
She'd last featured in the scheme prior to the 2018 Asian Games. A boxer of Mary's pedigree and with less than a year to go for the Tokyo Olympics, she once again finds herself back in the TOPS list.